Happy 100th Birthday Olivia de Havilland!: HUSH… HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE (20th Century Fox 1964)

cracked rear viewer


Today marks the 100th birthday of one of the last true Golden Age greats, Olivia de Havilland. Film fans across the globe are celebrating the life and career of this fine actress, who fought the Hollywood system and won. Olivia is the last surviving cast member of GONE WITH THE WIND (Melanie Wilkes), won two Academy Awards (TO EACH HIS OWN, THE HEIRESS), headlined classics like THE SNAKE PIT and THE DARK MIRROR, and costarred with dashing Errol Flynn in eight exciting films, including CAPTAIN BLOOD , THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, SANTA FE TRAIL, and THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON.

Olivia moved to Paris with her husband in the 1950’s and was semi-retired, acting in a handful of films. In 1962 director Robert Aldrich  scored a huge hit, a psychological horror thriller called WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, starring screen veterans Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. A new genre was…

View original post 835 more words

Cleaning Out The DVR, Again #12: Naughty Marietta (dir by W.S. Van Dyke)


Continuing the process of cleaning out my DVR, I watched the 1935 film, Naughty Marietta.  I recorded Naughty Marietta off of TCM on April 3rd.  Like many of the films that I record off of TCM, Naughty Marietta was nominated for Best Picture.  In fact, if not for that Oscar nomination long ago, Naughty Marietta would probably be totally forgotten.

Instead, it’s only partially forgotten.

Based on an operetta and containing at least one song that I’ve sung while drunk (that song, incidentally, would be Ah!  Sweet Mystery of Life), Naughty Marietta tells the story of Princess Marie (Jeanette MacDonald).  A Spanish princess, Marie is engaged (against her will) to the elderly Don Carlos (Walter Kingsford).  In order to escape a life of forced marriage, Marie pretends to be a servant girl named Marietta and stows away on a boat to New Orleans.  The boat is carrying women to the new world so that they marry French colonists.  The other women on board are shocked when Marietta announces that she plans to never marry.

However, they are even more shocked when the boat is taken over by pirates!  The pirates kill the crew and take the women prisoner.  The pirates take the women to Louisiana where, fortunately, a group of mercenaries led by Captain Richard Warrington (Nelson Eddy) show up and rescue the women.

Marie negotiates for Warrington to take the women to New Orleans and it’s obvious from the start that Marie and Warrington are attracted to each other.  However, Warrington claims that, much like Marie, he plans to never marry!  Oh my God, could it be that these two are meant to get together!?

It has all the potential for being a good musical and Jeannette MacDonald gives a good performance as Marie.  But, unfortunately, Nelson Eddy is a lot less charismatic in the role of Warrington.  Even his singing voice is a bit blah.  Oddly, Naughty Marietta was one of many romantic musicals that Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy made together.  The reason I use the term “odd,” is because — judging from this film — they didn’t appear to have much onscreen chemistry.  Whereas MacDonald is personable and relatable, Nelson Eddy seems to hold the audience at a distance.  Watching a film like this, you can’t help but regret that Jeanette MacDonald didn’t have someone like Fred Astaire for a co-star.

As for Naughty Marietta‘s best picture nomination — well, it was a big production and it was also an adaptation of a popular operetta.  At a time when 10 films were nominated every year and the studios pretty much controlled which one of their films was nominated for best picture, Naughty Marietta got a nomination.  However, the Oscar went to Mutiny on the Bounty.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Gone With The Wind, The Snake Pit, Lady In A Cage, The Swarm

Olivia De Havilland and Friends

Olivia De Havilland and Friends

I hope that you will join us all in wishing a happy birthday to the wonderful and legendary Olivia De Havilland, who turns 100 years old today!  Not only is Olivia the last surviving cast member of Gone With The Wind but she’s also one of the last surviving stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age!  Not only was she a wonderful actress but Olivia’s rivalry with sister Joan Fontaine continues to be one of the legendary moments of Oscar history!

This edition of 4 Shots From 4 Films features four movies that starred the one and only, Olivia De Havilland!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Gone With The Wind (1939, dir by Victor Fleming)

Gone With The Wind (1939, dir by Victor Fleming)

The Snake Pit (1948, dirby Anatole Litvak)

The Snake Pit (1948, dir by Anatole Litvak)

Lady in a Cage (1964, dir by Walter Grauman)

Lady in a Cage (1964, dir by Walter Grauman)

The Swarm (1978, dir by Irwin Allen)

The Swarm (1978, dir by Irwin Allen)

By the way, do you know who shares a birthday with Olivia De Havilland?  OUR VERY OWN PATRICK SMITH!  Happy birthday, Pat!!!!!!

Happy Canada Day From The Shattered Lens!

Happy Canada Day!

Now, as our regular readers know, I absolutely adore Canada.  I love the people, I love the movies, and I especially love the television!  In honor of Canada Day, I thought I would share a great moment from Canadian history!

That moment, of course, is the night that Downtown Sasquatch defeated Hell Hath No Fury at the Toronto Battle of the Bands!  It was this victory that not only introduced Spinner Mason to the rest of the Toronto but it also launched Craig Manning into super stardom.

First, a little background.  Craig was one of the most popular students at Degrassi Community School but he shocked the entire student body when he cheated on his girlfriend, Ashley Kerwin, with Manny Santos.  The end result is that Manny ended up pregnant and had to get an abortion.  Ashley, meanwhile, challenged her rage by forming a band called Hell Hath No Fury.  Hell Hath No Fury specialized in singing songs about how much they hated Craig.

Craig, of course, was already the lead singer for Downtown Sasquatch.  When it came time to write a song for the upcoming battle of the bands, Craig was stunned to discover that his band would be competing against Hell Hath No Fury.  Craig was hit with writer’s block.  With Craig unable to come up with lyrics for a new song, drummer Spinner Mason and guitarist Jimmy Brooks decided to try to help out.  Here’s what they came up with:

Things looked bleak for Downtown Sasquatch.  Things looked even bleaker when, on the night of the battle of the band and with Craig still unable to write, Hell Hath No Fury — while wearing shirts that portrayed Craig burning in Hell — performed their anti-Craig anthem, Mr. Nice Guy:

When Downtown Sasquatch took the stage, it was as a power trio.  Craig had mysteriously disappeared.  Bravely, Spinner attempted to kill time but it was obvious that the audience had turned against Downtown Sasquatch.  The future of Canadian music was in peril.

Then, suddenly, Craig returned, walking out on stage with freshly written lyrics in his hands.  The rest is history:

Happy Canada Day, everyone!


Music Video of the Day: Subdivisions by Rush (1982, dir. Grant Lough)

Seeing as it is Canada Day, I thought I would go with some of the best known Canadian musicians. This also happens to be one of my favorite songs by Rush and a good video that goes with its’ message of societal pressures to conform. I love how it opens with the slow synthesizer, then goes into a zooming out aerial shot like you are taking off into the song and the video. Then it ends on a Game Over screen from the game Tempest. Old arcade games make great analogies for unwinnable situations that everyone thinks can be accomplished if they try hard enough.